Governor Scott Appoints Ponte Vedra Beach Resident
R. Lee Smith To The Seventh Judicial Bench

Our Concerns With Gubernatorial Judicial Appointments

April 27, 2016
"A government big enough to give you everything you want,
is strong enough to take everything you have."
- Thomas Jefferson

Our Newest Judge
The Honorable R. Lee Smith

Governor Rick Scott recently appointed Ponte Vedra Beach, Attorney R. Lee Smith as the Seventh Judicial Circuit's newest Circuit Court judge.

Judge Smith will be replacing Judge J. David Walsh - who recently retired after serving fifteen years on the bench. Judge Walsh was appointed in 2001 by then Gov. Jeb Bush.

JNC Vetting
Electorate Discretion

Recently - soon to be retiring Circuit Court Judge Joseph Will expressed the opinion that judges should be appointed by the governor - rather than elected by the local electorate.
(Listen To Judge Will's April 12, 2016 Interview On The Marc Bernier Show)

In our April 22, 2016 article titled - JUDICIAL DIRTY DEEDS - Done Dirt Cheap ! - THE DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF THE LOCAL ELECTORATE - we (VolusiaExposed.Com) expressed our concerns (opinion) of how Judge Will and Governor Scott's office colluded to manipulate Will's retirement date, in order to ensure a gubernatorial appointment, rather than filling the judicial seat by a majority vote of the local electorate.

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth". Oscar Wilde

The Power Of The People
The Power Brokers

While Judge Will has assured us that the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) does properly vet all judicial candidates that they forward to the governor's office for appointment to judicial positions -- and while many may find comfort in Judge Will's assurances - it is our (VolusiaExposed.Com) OPINION - that this is far from the actual truth.

Since the JNC members are also appointed by the governor - the JNC judicial vetting processing is heavily politicized - to the extent, whereas, it must be openly questioned whether the JNC Commissioners' judicial selections have not already been pre-ordained by local and national political power brokers.

Sounds too far fetched? Well - before you rule it out as just another rogue conspiracy theory - you may wish to read our (VolusiaExposed.Com) December 21, 2015 article titled "The Fix Is In - How The Florida Political Machine Circumvents Judicial Elections". We (VolusiaExposed.Com) highly suspect that after reading this article - you, our readers, will have a new appreciation of the fact that some JNC Commissioners and judicial candidates are already keenly aware of - that it is the local and national power brokers that are the REAL decision makers in the JNC selection process.

Was Judge R. Lee Smith The Best Qualified - OR Simply The Best Politically Connection Nominee?

We (VolusiaExposed.Com) openly question whether Mr. Smith was the best qualified of the six nominees submitted by the JNC to the governor's office?

With no intended slight to Mr. Smith - we (VolusiaExposed.Com) are of the opinion that out of the six nominees he (Smith) was one of the least qualified.

Borrowing some of Judge Will's verbage from his April 12, 2016 interview on the Marc Bernier Show (WNDB 1150 Radio) - Mr. Smith does meet the minimum qualifications - five years as an attorney and he maintains a pulse (heartbeat).

Mr. Smith's practice of the law - has in our opinion - been very limited since his 2002 graduation from Jacksonville's Florida Coastal Law School (FCLS). According the Florida Bar, FCLS received it's full American Bar Association accrediation the very year Mr. Smith graduated.

Mr. Smith's legal career is mostly attached to serving as an Assistant State Attorney in both the Fourth (4th) and Seventh (7th) Florida Judicial Circuits from 2007 to present. He did serve as legislative counsel to U.S. Congressman Ander Crenshaw from 2002 to 2007. Congressman Crenshaw is still in Congress - he is scheduled to retire next year (2017).

Given our opinion that the JNC selection process is more about having political connections - than it is about having actual overall legal experience - we (VolusiaExposed.Com) are of the opinion - that his connections to Congressman Crenshaw's office served him well in obtaining this gubernatorial judicial appointment. We (VolusiaExposed.Com) can easily envision a phone call from the congressman's office to the governor's office that ensured Smith's judicial appointment. Simply put - political favors always trump actual experience and abilities (Our Opinion).

Would You Have Voted For Smith?

So, given what you know about Judge Smith - would you have voted for him? Do you believe that he was the best choice given the other judicial nominees?

Would Smith's limited law experience (total focus on government service - no private practice), and his 1990 run in with the law (leaving the scene of a crash) been challenged by a political opponent? We believe it would have. And maybe that is why individuals like Judge Joe Will prefer the JNC selection process - where little imprefections in a judicial candidate's background or character can be quietly glossed over by the political machine and status quo.

Judge Joe Will has a son - Assistant State Attorney J. Ryan Will. ASA J. Ryan Will has his own imperfections - so much so - that they would be difficult to manage in a judicial election campaign (Our Opinion). Especially since recently, some of these allegations resulted in a sustained Florida Bar complaint.

Daytona Beach News Journal Article - ASA J. Ryan Will Reprimanded By The Florida Bar

Now lets focus back on Judge Smith - would you have voted for him? In order to assist you in making your decision - we have secured both the JNC video interviews of the six judicial nominees, as well as their completed (redacted) judicial applications (see below).

Review them for yourself - and decide for yourself whether Smith was the best candidate - and for whom you would have voted for - if given the chance to vote. Afterall - remember that Judge Joseph Will, and some others - apparently don't believe you have the abilities to make these important decisions. Might we kindly suggest that you remember Judge Will's comments - should you get a notice in the mail, requiring you to be a juror within his court room. Logic would dictate - if you are not competent enough to select judges - really how competent are you to sit on a jury? --- over and out for now.....

Nominees' JNC Applications Are Available As A Link Under Each Interview Video

Dawn Moore Stens

Stens' Redacted Application
Steven C. Henderson

Henderson's Redacted Application
Mary Ellen Osterndorf
Osterndorf's Redacted Application
(Large File)

Sebrina L. Slack

Slack's Redacted Application
R. Lee Smith

Smith's Redacted Application
(Large File)
Alicia Washington

Washington's Redacted Application
(Large File)

We look forward to your comments on this situation.
Drop us a line to let us know what you think.